Information For Prospective Families

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Are you looking to learn more about the National Ski Academy?  Are you a high-performance athlete looking to take your skiing to the next level and become #RacerReadyForLife?

The Academy has put together a shared folder of documents that are helpful in terms of learning more about the athletic and academic programming that we offer.  Of particular value are the updated Program Guide, as well as our Student Athlete Application.  NSA Info for Prospective Families 

The National Ski Academy is a Ministry of Education inspected independent school that offers a rigorous university-preparatory academic program, coupled with a high-performance U16 and FIS ski program, all under one roof.  Our student athletes spend 120+ days on snow in a variety of locations across the escarpment, throughout Quebec, the Eastern United States, Western Canada, and abroad.  Our experienced coaching staff allow for a differentiated athletic programming with additional South American/European training and racing opportunities.  All of these racing and training opportunities are without the stress of missed classes as our academic program is scheduled around the racing and training schedule. 

We work hard to ensure that our course offerings will help to meet our student athletes’ postsecondary pathway goals.  In grades 9 and 10, we focus on the completion of compulsory courses that are required for the Ontario Secondary School Diploma.  The entire grade 9 year is prescribed, with some courses offered in alternating years (i.e. Grade 9 Canadian Geography alternates with Grade 10 Canadian History). In the senior years, grades 11 and 12, student athletes have a variety of university-preparatory courses to choose from – including all of the maths and sciences, as well as a variety of business, social science and humanities courses. 

Thinking ahead to postsecondary, once our student athletes graduate from the Academy, they engage successfully in university programming, in some highly competitive faculties, all across Canada, as well as the US and UK.   Our graduating class in 2022 saw one student offered admission to Queen’s University’s highly competitive Health Sciences program.  Another student is at UBC’s Sauder School of Business and another gained entry to the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill.  The class of 2023 also saw several student athletes receive acceptances to: McGill, Queen’s, Dalhousie, Huron @ Western with Advanced Ivy Entry, UBC, and others.  Not only are our grads accepted into these highly competitive programs, but they are thriving and are well-prepared for postsecondary studies.   

Our academic support and postsecondary planning is provided by Director of Guidance and Counselling, Heather Grant.  Ms. Grant has over 25 years of experience as a guidance counsellor, teacher, house director and coach at Appleby College, Neuchâtel Junior College (Switzerland) and most recently, Havergal College. She is well-versed in providing information to our graduates throughout the application process, including scholarship information and supplementary applications for highly competitive programs. 

The tuition structure at the Academy is inclusive of the vast majority of costs as identified in our Program Summary for 2024-25 (i.e all camps, race starts, local and away training, uniform, 5×7, school, physical conditioning in our gym etc.), and we take care of the logistical planning (i.e. transportation to training and races, communication between coaches/teachers, equipment set-up, meals/nutrition, etc.).   The tuition structure excludes only a very few costs (i.e. airfare, lunches on race days, meals on travel days, and AOA registration costs).  

We offer strength and conditioning training in our spacious on-site gym, a brand-new dedicated tuning facility, sessions on skier IQ, delicious and nutritious meals, the option to be a day student or to board in our student residence, significant postsecondary planning/support, scheduling/transportation logistics, and much more.  Our small class sizes allow a very personalized approach to learning – and our teachers work collaboratively on executive functioning skill development.  Our day students make up about a third of our student population.  They are included in all aspects of what happens at the Academy and are welcome to join us for all meals, stay in the evening for study hall or open gym, participate in social activities, etc. 

We are hosting several Open Houses at the NSA over the coming months.  All of the details can be found at: NSA Open Houses 2024

Another great step for your child to learn more about the NSA would be to participate in an NSA For A Day experience.  They would be welcome to train up with our student athletes in the morning, jump in the van and come back to the Academy for a delicious Chef Zak lunch, video review, and a strength and conditioning session in our gym.  This NSA For A Day opportunity allows prospective athletes to get a sense of what being a student athlete at the NSA feels like.  We do encourage prospective student athletes to join us with a pal or two if coming alone was a barrier to participation. 

If your family is not able to attend one of our scheduled Open Houses, or would prefer a private tour, please don’t hesitate to reach out directly to Head of School, Tobin Walsh at twalsh@nsa.on.ca  You are also most welcome to reach out to Tobin directly with any questions, or to inquire further about participating in an NSA For A Day.

NSA Open
Houses 2024

Come tour our campus (200 Oak St., Collingwood), and chat with NSA staff and current student athletes.

Click here for more information, call 705-444-1617, or email us at info@nsa.on.ca

Ross McIntosh
Teacher

Ross McIntosh is a physics, math, and computer science teacher who takes immense care and pride in ensuring his students learn, love, and succeed in math and the sciences. Ross works tremendously hard to deliver a high standard of education, frequently staying for study hall in the evenings and on Saturdays, to ensure his students have ample opportunities to practice and receive extra help. He is known for his deep investment in each student’s success.

Under his mentorship, students regularly appear at the top of the Northern Ontario leaderboards for the University of Waterloo math contests. He has also mentored dozens of Canada-Wide Science Fair medallists, and maintained a 96% AP Exam pass rate in Ontario over a six-year period. Ross injects the passion and energy of a professional sports coach into the classroom. In this environment, students are encouraged to achieve things they never thought possible.

Ross’ teaching brings out the best in students during an important period of their development. His alumni speak of the profound impact he made on their lives. He keeps in touch with a huge number of his past students, many of whom have continued to study math, physics, architecture, and engineering at the most prestigious universities in Canada and the USA.

Ross says, “It is my core belief that when I can provide a student with the skills to face the challenging world of physics and math – and they see that they can succeed — they leave with a strong foundation to have the confidence and motivation to be successful in other challenges throughout life.”

Liesbeth Halbertsma
Teacher

Liesbeth Halbertsma grew up in France and the Netherlands, culminating in her attainment of a master’s degree in Law from the University of Amsterdam, complemented by a minor in Art History. In the company of her husband and two young sons, she made a home on Sint Maarten for 14 years before moving to Canada in 2015. Her professional journey has been a diverse tapestry, encompassing various managerial roles, including president of a child rights organization, a successful business owner, and the chair of the Foundation Classical Delight in Sint Maarten, where she orchestrated classical and school concerts for the island and organized events. She presently holds the position of President at Sail Georgian Bay, a sailing school dedicated to youth education.

Liesbeth’s abiding passion for teaching has been evident throughout her life. She provided tutoring to numerous students on St. Maarten, and upon her arrival in Collingwood, she embarked on a teaching career, focusing primarily on French instruction across all grade levels. In addition to her role in teaching French, she also taught Grade 12 Law, ESL, and even a history class. Aside from teaching, Liesbeth is the General Manager of Collingwood Music Festival, and works for Sideroad Farms at the farmers market because she is passionate about food. Liesbeth loves the outdoors, running on the trails, hiking, skiing, biking.

Alex Love
Teacher
This is Alex Love’s second year at NSA teaching senior chemistry and math courses.  Alex has previously taught in a mixture of settings and curriculums, including most recently abroad at an IB school in Vietnam.  He also just completed his Masters in Mathematics at Waterloo.  In the classroom Alex is focused on making STEM courses more accessible through reducing the anxiety and stress students can have towards higher level math/science topics.  Out of the classroom, Alex loves to go backpacking in different countries and will never say no to a good puzzle or Escape Room.  
Kathy Stegenga
Teacher
Kathy Stegenga is excited to join the NSA community.  After teaching at Branksome Hall for 23 years and living in Toronto for many more, she is thrilled to now be in Collingwood.  She is a versatile teacher always thinking of creative ways to deliver the curriculum. Recognizing that each student learns differently, she uses a variety of resources and teaching methods to capture their interest. Outside of the classroom, you will find her Nordic skiing, hiking, biking or swimming in the bay – truly enjoying all that Collingwood and the surrounding area have to offer!  
Michèle Mougeot
Teacher
Michèle Mougeot has extensive experience in education, having taught a wide variety of subjects for the York Region District School Board, the Bluewater District School Board, and private schools. She has an Honours degree from the University of Waterloo in Environment & Resource Studies and Biology, a teaching degree from the University of Toronto, and the following additional qualifications: Honours Specialist Environmental Science, Specialist in Special Education, and French as a Second Language. She has a passion for protecting natural areas, and she enjoys sharing active outdoor adventures with her students, friends, and family, throughout the seasons.
William Vancise
Teacher

William teaches our vibrant visual arts and photography programming for all grades, as well as our intermediate Canadian Geography course.  He has worked with the student athletes at the Academy for many years. He holds his Honours Specialist in Visual Arts and History.  He is currently the Arts Department Chair at Collingwood Collegiate.  He devotes his time to instructional practice, community, charity, agriculture and Mother Nature.  Words of wisdom: “Creativity takes commitment and a lot of found material.” Motto: Art for Art’s Sake.

Janet Wilkinson
Teacher

Janet has been delivering an exceptional Grade 12 English program to our senior student athletes since September 2016. Before retiring in 2016 from her career as a secondary school teacher, she designed and delivered essential English literacy courses; taught an extensive array of programs, ranging from Grade 9 LDCC English to Grade 12 University preparation; and wrote English curriculum at the local and provincial levels. Since retirement, she has been busy tutoring student athletes, skiing, hiking the Bruce Trail, and volunteering in the community. Janet is a playwright and a member of the board of directors for local Gaslight Community Theatre Production.  Her short story “Breathless” placed second in the Toronto Star’s short story contest in 2018.  Janet lives in Collingwood with her husband and their German Shepherd, Tucker.

Patrick Parenteau
FIS Coach, Women

Patrick Parenteau – Patrick has 25+ years of coaching expertise, he is a certified personal trainer and holds a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from Sherbrooke University. Patrick is a Performance Level,  Canadian Ski Coach, with a deep understanding of advanced alpine ski coaching techniques and tactics. In addition, he is a Level 3 CSIA, and Level 3 NCCP coach. Patrick is an Alpine Canada Alpin Level 2 official with a thorough understanding of domestic and FIS regulations and protocols.

Patrick returns to NSA, having worked at NSA from 04-06, and again in the 14-18 seasons. Patrick has diverse experience in Eastern and Western Canada with a number of top clubs and elite FIS. Patrick twice earned “Coach of the Year” honours for his work in Alberta

(2002) and Quebec (1996).  His excellent communication skills, unwavering dedication, and ability to foster a positive training environment have earned him the trust and respect of his fellow coaches,  athletes, and their families.

We are excited to welcome Patrick back to NSA!

Will Gyles
Head FIS Coach, FIS Coach, Men

Will joined NSA as a Men’s FIS Coach in 2022. He is an ACA Performance Level coach and has a long history of coaching in Ontario. Will is a product of our provincial system, racing through the ranks at the club, regional, and provincial levels. He has led athletes and teams at Georgian Peaks, Devils Glen, and the SOD Team. Will’s experience includes working with numerous athletes from across Ontario, some of whom have gone on to ski at the Provincial, NCAA, and National Team levels. Will has many years of work experience in the ski industry and brings specific skills related to boot-fitting and race ski preparation. Will is disciplined, organized, and hard-working. He has a high ski racing IQ and his knowledge of the sport development pathway will aid in supporting our athletes. Will is familiar with the independent school system as he is a graduate of Crescent School (’02). Will spent his postsecondary years earning an Honours Degree in History at Queen’s University (’07).

Daniel Gagnon
Fis Coach, Women

Daniel (“Hootie”) Gagnon joined NSA as a Women’s FIS Coach in 2022. We are excited to be welcoming this NSA alumni (’14) and NSA Blake Award winner back to the family. He is an ACA Development Level Coach, working towards his Performance Level certification, and has spent 5 years coaching U16 OCUP at the Toronto Ski Club. He was TSC ‘Coach of the Year’ this past season and instrumental in the planning and logistics for both out-of-province/country training projects. Jeff Jones, our Program Director, adds “Daniel will bring energy and enthusiasm to our school community. His understanding of the athlete’s journey (high school ski academy life and post-graduate experience in the US) will be an asset”.

Louis Florjancic
FIS Coach, Men

Louis is an experienced alpine ski coach with over 15 years of dedicated coaching at the Club Level. He has made a significant impact on young skiers’ development during his tenure at Georgian Peaks and Alpine Ski Clubs, where he consistently fostered a culture focused on development and passion for skiing. Louis is an NSA Alumni, class of ’05, and he holds a degree in Political Science from Western University. As a Performance Level Canadian Ski Coach, he possesses a deep understanding of alpine ski coaching techniques and tactics.

A successful ski racer Louis won gold in GS and silver in SG at the 2003 Canada Winter Games and won the Overall Championship title, of the 2003 Pontiac GMC Cup Series. He brings a wealth of competitive experience having attended five National Championships, Nor-Ams, and numerous FIS races across North America. 

NSA is pleased to welcome Louis back and allow him to share his skills and experience with our student-athletes!

Zak Bensdira
Chef

When Chef Zak arrived at the Academy in the spring of 2018, he immediately had an incredible positive impact on nutritional health of our student athletes. Chef Zak has trained at Le Cordon Bleu and loves introducing our students and staff as well as lucky guests to new cuisine, be it Thai, Italian or French. He has a love for patisseries so there are lots of delicious things on the dessert menu as well. Zak travels on many of the training camps with the student athletes to ensure everyone eats properly and does meal prep and planning with the coaches for away race series throughout the year. Zak lives in Collingwood with his wife and daughter. He hopes this year to be able to once again host the fun and delicious Friday Night Family Dinners!

Robert Pierce
Maintenance and Facilities Manager

Robert began taking care of NSA’s heritage home, Tornaveen (built in 1893) in June 2018. He is responsible for day to day maintenance at the school as well as planning and carrying out the special heritage grant projects to keep our building looking great for its 126 years. Over the past 18 months, Robert has been, and continues to be, instrumental in making sure everyone stays healthy and safe by implementing our COVID-19 procedures and protocols. This summer he has overseen the complete renovation of the kitchen as well as numerous other projects. Robert is retired Canadian military and lives in Collingwood with his wife and three children.

Alex Procenko
Teacher

Alex began teaching at the NSA in the spring of 2018. She is currently on a parental leave, enjoying time at home with her son. She works with both junior and senior students exploring science with inquiry based experiments ranging from meteorite impacts to lung capacity to impacts on ecosystems. She has a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Genetics and a minor in Psychology from UWO and completed UWO’s Bachelor of Education program as part of the first ever STEM cohort. She grew up in Wasaga Beach and now lives in Stayner with her husband. And whether it is fetal pig dissection, coding for robotics or taking her classes outside to explore the spectacular Georgian Bay Biosphere right outside our door, Miss P. brings the exciting world of science into the classroom.

Mary Kawamura
Teacher

This is Mary’s second year teaching senior Physics at NSA and will be adding secondary science and math to her teaching schedule this year. Mary has taught Grade 7 – 12 Math and Science for 18+ years in both independent and public systems across southern Ontario as well as Nunavut, and abroad in Papua New Guinea and Vietnam. She enjoys travelling, immersing herself in new cultures and languages, and hopes to continue travelling soon, but is happy to be back home and spending as much time as possible with her five nieces and nephews. Mary also enjoys hiking the local trails and experiencing the abundance of nature that the Collingwood area offers.

Heather grant
Director of Guidance & Counselling

Heather Grant has over 25 years of experience as a guidance counsellor, teacher, house director and coach at Appleby College, Neuchâtel Junior College (Switzerland) and most recently, Havergal College. In 2018, Heather set up her own private educational consulting practice, Clearview Educational Consulting. Working with students and their families from all over North America, Heather provides expertise and support in a variety of areas including academic and personal counselling, elite athletics and Canadian, U.S. and International post-secondary applications.

With an M.Ed in Educational and Counselling Psychology and an M.A. in Sport Sociology, Heather has devoted her career to providing essential support to students throughout high school and beyond with a primary focus on supporting well-being in all aspects of their lives. Heather loves the outdoors and in the winter months can be found trying to keep up with her husband and kids on the hills at Devil’s Glen.

Carol Tolles
Finance Manager

Carol began working at the NSA in the spring of 2017. She brings over 20 years of bookkeeping experience with charitable organizations and prior to joining NSA worked with the United Way in Guelph. Carol is an avid skier and worked as an instructor for many years. She divides her time between Collingwood and an island in Georgian Bay where her husband manages a marina. Carol’s dog, Gypsy is the official NSA office greeter.

Jeff Jones
Program Director, U16 Head Coach

Jeff Jones brings with him an immense depth of expertise including local and international coaching experience from U10’s at the club level, all the way through the development pipeline to elite U21 athletes at the Continental Cup level. He has been an Interim GM, Program Manager and Head Coach. He has sports psychology acumen and physical training discipline. Jeff is a licensed CSC level 4 Program Director, CSC EL, DL and PL Course Facilitator, Level 4 NCCP coach, Level 4 CSIA instructor and most recently completed his training as a FIS TD.

“I am beyond excited to be selected for this position at NSA,” shares Jeff. “I feel as though I have spent my coaching career building towards this moment and this opportunity. I intend to carry on NSA’s legacy that began in 1986 with founder Jurg Gfeller. I look forward to collaborating with all NSA’s staff to honour our past, deliver great programs now and prepare NSA for the future.

Tobin Walsh
Head of School

Tobin Walsh took on the role of Head of School in 2017-18. Prior to taking on the leadership role at NSA, she had a 15 year career in teaching and educational leadership with the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB). She was a coordinator for the Specialist High Skills Major Programs in the Pathways Department at the TCDSB Catholic Education Centre. She has extensive teaching and leadership experience in the areas of Guidance, Co-operative Education, Geography, Career Studies and Science. Over her career, Tobin has focused on and excelled at building relationships among stakeholders, developing partnerships, building community and the creation of engaging student learning opportunities to enhance student success. Tobin has been involved in the ski industry for close to 30 years, and along with her husband Paul, are members of Alpine Ski Club’s race crew. Their son Jasper is a budding U8 racer.

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